Marijuana QuickFacts - One Pager

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QUICK FACTS
Who
 is
 in
 jail
 and
 prison
 for
 marijuana?
  • A rigorous government analysis of who is in jail or prison for marijuana found that less than 0.7% of all state inmates were behind bars for marijuana possession only (with many of them pleading down from more serious crimes).i



What
 about
 treating
 marijuana
 like
 alcohol?
  •

Federal data show that the vast majority (99.8 percent) of Federal prisoners sentenced for drug offenses were incarcerated for drug trafficking.ii

The
 Myth
 of
 the
 Infamous
 Tax
 Revenue
  •

Under legalization, more people, not fewer, will be ensnared in the criminal justice system. A fact most people do not know is that alcohol — not cocaine, heroin or marijuana — is responsible for 2.6 million arrests every year. That is 1 million more arrests than for all illegal drugs combined. The reason? Alcohol is used so much more commonly than illegal drugs. People are being arrested for violating liquor laws, driving while intoxicated and public drunkenness (the 2.6 million number doesn’t even include violent crimes that result from alcohol use. That isn’t to say that current drug policies aren’t also costly to the criminal justice system. They are. But that is precisely why we need smarter enforcement policies — not legalization, which would very likely compound the current costs. Any tax revenue gained from legal marijuana would be quickly offset by the social costs. Let’s take a look at two legal substances: o Federal excise taxes collected on alcohol in 2007 totaled around $9 billion; states collected around $5.5 billion. Combined, these amounts are less than 10 percent of the estimated $185 billion in alcohol—related costs to health care, criminal justice, and the workplace in lost productivity.

Drug
 Cartels
 and
 The
 Black
 Market
  •



The truth is, marijuana legalization would do nothing to diminish the power of the cartels, primarily because marijuana accounts for a tiny share of revenues gained by drug trafficking groups. For them, the big money is found in sexier illegal trade, such human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, piracy and other illicit drugs.v Marijuana accounts for only a portion of the proceeds (about 15--20%) gained by criminal organizations that profit from drug distribution, human trafficking and other crimes. So, legalizing marijuana would not deter these groups from continuing to operate.

Tobacco does not yield net revenue when taxed. Each year, Americans spend more than $200 billion on the social costs of smoking, but only about $25 billion is collected in taxes..iv



Marijuana
 and
 Health
  Addiction
  •

.
  Under the most commonly proposed legalization regime – one that imposes high taxes on marijuana – violent drug cartels would simply undercut legal prices to keep their market share. With increased demand for marijuana resulting from legalization, these groups would likely grow stronger. 1 in 10 people who try marijuana becomes addicted to it, developing a dependence that produces withdrawal and cravings. If marijuana use starts in adolescence, the chances of addiction are 1 in 6.vi Long-term studies from the United States and New Zealand have shown that regular cannabis smokers report more symptoms of chronic bronchitis than non-smokers.vii And today’s marijuana is not the marijuana of the 1960s: potency has grown five-fold or more in the past 30 years. Marijuana use directly affects the brain, specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention and reaction time. These effects can last up to 28 days after abstinence from use of the drug.viii





The
 Brain
 and
 Mental
 Health
  •





Science confirms that the adolescent brain, particularly the part of the brain that regulates complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making and social behavior, is not fully developed until about the age of 25. Developing brains are especially susceptible to all of the negative effects of marijuana and other drug use.ix Marijuana use has been shown to be significantly linked with mental illness, especially schizophrenia and psychosis, and also depression and anxiety..x

i
 “Substance
 Abuse
 and
 Treatment,
 State
 and
 Federal
 Prisoners,
 1997.”
 BJS
 Special
 Report,
 January
 1999,
 NCJ
 172871.
  http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/satsfp97.pdf
  ii
 http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/fjs09st.pdf
  iii
 See
 http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=399.
 Also
 Harwood,
 H.
 (2000),
 Updating
 Estimates
 of
 the
 Economic
 Costs
 of
 Alcohol
  Abuse
 in
 the
 United
 States:
 Estimates,
 Update
 Methods
 and
 Data.
 Report
 prepared
 for
 the
 National
 Institute
 on
 Alcoholism
 and
 Alcohol
 Abuse.
  iv
 State
 estimates
 found
 at
 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/31/weekinreview/31saul.html?em;
 Federal
 estimates
 found
 at
  https://www.policyarchive.org/bitstream/handle/10207/3314/RS20343_20020110.pdf;
 Also
 see
  http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0072.pdf;
 Campaign
 for
 Tobacco
 Free
 Kids,
 see
 “Smoking-­‐caused
 costs,”
 on
 p.2.
  v
 Kilmer,
 Beau,
 Jonathan
 P.
 Caulkins,
 Brittany
 M.
 Bond
 and
 Peter
 H.
 Reuter.
 Reducing
 Drug
 Trafficking
 Revenues
 and
 Violence
 in
 Mexico:
 Would
 Legalizing
  Marijuana
 in
 California
 Help?.
 Santa
 Monica,
 CA:
 RAND
 Corporation,
 2010.
 http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP325.
 
  vi
 Wagner,
 F.A.
 &
 Anthony,
 J.C.
 From
 first
 drug
 use
 to
 drug
 dependence;
 developmental
 periods
 of
 risk
 for
 dependence
 upon
 cannabis,
 cocaine,
 and
 alcohol.
  Neuropsychopharmacology
 26,
 479-­‐488
 (2002).
 
 
  vii
 http://www.rwjf.org/content/rwjf/en/research-­‐publications/find-­‐rwjf-­‐research/2007/02/effects-­‐of-­‐marijuana-­‐smoking-­‐on-­‐pulmonary-­‐function-­‐and-­‐ respirato.html
  viii Hall W & Degenhard L (2009). Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Lancet, 374:1383-1391 ix Giedd.
 J.
 N.
 (2004).
 Structural
 magnetic
 resonance
 imaging
 of
 the
 adolescent
 brain.
 Annals
 of
 the
 New
 York
 Academy
 of
 Sciences,
 1021,
 77-­‐85.
 
 
  x
 Moore
 TH,
 Zammit
 S,
 Lingford-­‐Hughes
 A,
 et
 al.
 Cannabis
 use
 and
 risk
 of
 psychotic
 or
 affective
 mental
 health
 outcomes:
 A
 systematic
 review.
 Lancet
  370(9584):319–328,
 2007.
 Also
 Large,
 M.,
 Sharma
 S,
 Compton
 M.,
 Slade,
 T.
 &
 O.,
 N.
 (2011).
 Cannabis
 use
 and
 earlier
 onset
 of
 psychosis:
 a
 systematic
 meta-­‐ analysis.
 Archives
 of
 General
 Psychiatry.
 68.
 Also
 see
 Arseneault
 L,
 et
 al.
 (2002).
 Cannabis
 use
 in
 adolescence
 and
 risk
 for
 adult
 psychosis:
 longitudinal
  prospective
 study.
 British
 Medical
 Journal.
 325,
 1212-­‐1213.
 
 
 

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